My Fake Rake
(The Union of the Rakes, Book 1)
Fiction, romance, historical
HarperCollins UK, Mills and Boon
January 31, 2020
Lady Grace Wyatt is content as a wallflower, focusing on scientific pursuits rather than the complications of society matches. But when a handsome, celebrated naturalist returns from abroad, Grace wishes, for once, to be noticed. Her solution: to create the perfect man, to act as her suitor, and help her catch his eye. Grace’s colleague, anthropologist Sebastian Holloway, is just the blank slate she requires.
To further his own research on English society, Sebastian agrees to let Grace transform him from a bespectacled, bookish academic into a dashing—albeit fake—rake. Between secret lessons on how to be a rogue and exaggerated public flirtations, Grace’s feelings for Sebastian grow from friendship into undeniable, inconvenient, real attraction. If only she hadn’t asked him to help her marry someone else…
Sebastian is in love with brilliant, beautiful Grace, but their bargain is complete, and she desires another. Yet when he’s faced with losing her forever, Sebastian will do whatever it takes to tell her the truth, even if it means risking his own future—and his heart.
This is a Regency Romance with a difference. @ There is plenty of bawdy talk and swearing and sexual escapades occur. The author does not pretend that all society young women are innocent or inexperienced. @ The young women are scientists. They write papers that are published- though I am not sure how accurate this is. @There are mixed races married in respectable’ society. Again, I would like some evidence. But there are some excellent academic points made about hypotheses. That they only stand until there is evidence that they must change if evidence dictates it. And that our biases influence our beliefs and how we explore the world and science. And that people (The author says men) only value what others possess…
The Duke's Desire
12 Dukes of Christmas
by Erica Ridley
Historical Fiction ,Romance
Pub Date 24 Dec 2019
Meg Church adores two things: life in a village of perennial Yuletide, and the freedom of being a spinster with no reputation to protect. Oh, very well, three things: She’s harbored a secret tendre for Christmas curmudgeon Lucien le Duc since the moment she first glimpsed him. But the sexy blacksmith won’t give her the time of day, much less a night of torrid passion.
Ever since Lucien le Duc was forced to flee his beloved France during the revolution, his all-consuming goal has been to recover not only his lost land and fortune, but also his rightful place among the French aristocracy. He would never be distracted by an English dairy maid’s sultry glances… or her soul-consuming kisses… or the temptation to turn one night into forever… The 12 Dukes of Christmas is a series of heartwarming Regency romps nestled in a picturesque snow-covered village. Twelve delightful romances… and plenty of delicious dukes!
I always read her
books as soon as I get hold of them, and then wait anxiously for the next in
the series. Now this is book 8 of the 12 Dukes of Christmas. Annoyingly the remainder of the series are
available on Amazon but didn’t some out in NetGalley before Xmas.
How did she count
the 12 dukes, well she included the le Duc brothers and this is the story of
Luc, the last one in the village to marry or even have a serious relationship.
Why? Well he was focused on going home – to France – and getting the family
lands, and possibly even a title, back as the Revolution was over. He also
therefore refused to speak English. And had developed a rather bad speaking accent
and poor vocabulary as a result.
We have another
of our feisty and unconventional heroines involved in this story – Meg. Meg was
far from an innocent, although her preferred method of birth control was sponges
soaked in vinegar and douches. These actually date back a long way – ancient
Egyptians also used sponges with either vinegar or lemons in the belief that
the acidity will kill sperm. What she didn’t know was that using vinegar could lead to the deterioration of normal vaginal
flora, and can irritate the vaginal mucus. Both eventualities heighten the risk
of developing infections. However, she was right to some extent, as
vinegar can kill sperm, but the sponge would need to be kept inside for quite some
time to ensure that no sperm are left in the vagina.
So Meg sets out
to seduce Luc before he returns to France, as she has had a crush n him forever.
As always with
these series, when an author says ‘I’m going to write 12 books in a very short
length of time, the books are short novellas with little character or story
development, and this only gets shorter as the series continues. Nonetheless,
if you’ve read the previous books, you know the characters involved and the
setting so it doesn’t matter so much. And Erica still has a good style of
writing and I really liked her making fun of the way 19th century
writers wrote torrid sex scenes…
The Last Waltz
by Dorothy Mack
Historical Fiction , Romance
Pub Date 20 Nov 2019
Can Adrienne reverse her family’s misfortune? When her gambling father dies, young Adrienne Castle must find a way to support her family. In desperation, she visits a gaming house in disguise, intent on winning back some of her father’s lost fortune using her skill at cards. But when her brother falls ill and her luck runs out, Adrienne is forced to seek the aid of a wealthy distant cousin, Lord Dominic Creighton. With a beautiful fiancée and a promising military career, Dominic has everything he could wish for and to her surprise, Adrienne finds him generous and warm-hearted. Despite her poverty and lack of experience in respectable society, Dominic tries to make her feel comfortable in his world. And as their bond grows, it seems that Adrienne is in danger of staking her heart on a man who is already in love with another…
This historical story is set in Brussels just
before the time of the Battle of Waterloo, June 1815 Allied forces, consisting of British, Dutch, Belgian and German soldiers,
thwarted the attempts of European domination by the French general and emperor,
Napoleon Bonaparte. This battle marked
the end of the Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815), Waterloo was the definitive
battle for Wellington and and Napoleon and the war which took the
lives of 5 million people. See: https://booksgosocial.com/2019/10/29/the-regency-decade-1815-part-one-waterloo/
This site tells us a little about what was
happening in Brussels from 1812 after until just before the Battle and the
novel continues with this society as its backdrop. There was a social whirl
that ex-pat Britons and their Continental compatriots enjoyed, including of
course, the Officers from the Allied Forces – who were very dashing and usually
of a high social rank as such rank was purchased for the young family scions.
against this background we have the story of a small family struggling
with poverty but well-bred and distantly related to those with more money and
titles. It was common amongst the better
off in English society to take in poorer relatives and help them either to
launch themselves into Society, or to find suitable employment. Here we have a
child with rheumatic fever, which of course is serious even today and then could
easily kill or leave sufferers with heart conditions. Whilst this disease is now rare, in the late
eighteenth century it was more common and also becoming recognised as a result
of streptococcal infections that include
pharyngitis, impetigo, and scarlet fever but rarely recognised
as the continuum of these illnesses. It becomes Rheumatic Fever when it begins
to affect the organs. Scarlet fever seems to occur in waves and thus
rheumatic fever follows.
Part of the storyline involved the game of
Piquet and gambling. Piquet is a card game rarely played these days, it is a 2
player game with 32 cards. Similar to whist it has card combinations and tricks
but where the object is to reach 100 points within 6 deals. If you fail to
reach 100 then you are penalised. I guess you gamble on winning the 100 points.
There is a set of complicated instructions about being called the Elder or the
Younger that you can obtain if you really want to play by a gentleman called David Parlett.
Interestingly the rules now played were not established until much later in the
19th century than this book is set even though the game started in the 16th
century. You can also buy sets of Piquet cards.
I liked this story. It was complex and long enough
to develop the characters and their situation and imbed it into a historical
context. The style was easy to read and flowed well.
The Duke's Embrace
12 Dukes of Christmas
by Erica Ridley
Historical Fiction , Romance
Pub Date 3 Dec 2019
Unpaid and under-appreciated journalist Miss Eve Shelling never goes anywhere without a trusty notebook and her overprotective Duenna—who happens to be a bullmastiff. Eve learned the hard way that men are not to be trusted. She’s definitely not falling head-over-heels for the deceptively charming subject of her front-page column. Local blacksmith Monsieur Sébastien le Duc is the pillar of his community—when he’s not pillaging elsewhere. He’s a rakish dandy with a heart of stolen gold and two teeny tiny secrets. One happens to be a wee international smuggling operation. The other involves losing his heart to an ambitious journalist determined to expose the truth at any cost… The 12 Dukes of Christmas is a series of heartwarming Regency romps nestled in a picturesque snow-covered village. Twelve delightful romances… and plenty of delicious dukes!
Another story about Cressmouth in the series of the 12 Dukes. This time we meet Bastien another of the le Duc family. He and his brother Luc run the Smithy for the town, the only smithy, which means that as they want to return to France and sell the smithy business, property and all apart from the cottage, the town will be without a blacksmith.
this we have an enterprising yung woman who runs the Cressmouth Chronicle. Her
father claims to own it and run it, but a. He took her dowry to finance the
purchase of the type and printer, and b. She does all the writing and printing
work, he just OKs the content! So much for women’s property rights in this
when she wants to write a juicier story than the usual ‘How wonderful
Cressmouth is’ and ‘The town that celebrates Christmas’ etc etc they disagree.
Especially when she wants to write about the Frenchmen running the Smithy…
so a romance ensues.
usual standard of writing we come to expect from Erica and nice content. Again
we growl when we hear about the property rights of men versus women and how
women are ‘ruled’ by the men in their family.. and find ourselves grateful that
we no longer need a co-sponsor for our mortgages (I did when I was much
younger) and that we can vote and run our own businesses.
The Duke's Bride
12 Dukes of Christmas
Historical fiction, Regency, Romance
WebMotion Historical Fiction ,
Pub Date 12 Nov 2019
Single father and confirmed bachelor Jack Skeffington is the mastermind behind an international smuggling ring, yet unable to control his rambunctious ten-year-old twins. What he needs is a stern, experienced, no-nonsense governess. What he gets is his business partner’s untouchable sister, whose delectable body Jack yearns to pull close.
Mademoiselle Désirée le Duc cannot wait to return to France and regain her lost vineyard. But to do so, she must repay crippling debt. Determined to buy freedom, she accepts temporary employment from an Englishman with a wicked smile and a big… wine cellar. His kisses taste like heaven and his arms feel like home. How can she choose between two families separated by the sea?
The 12 Dukes of Christmas is a series of heartwarming Regency romps nestled in a picturesque snow-covered village. Twelve delightful romances… and plenty of delicious dukes!
Another nice story about Christmas / Cressmouth town and the characters we meet in it.We have met the French émigrés before – the 3 le Duc siblings. 2 brothers and a sister. And of course there is the town’s ‘smuggler’ / pirate / ex-privateer and supplier of good French brandy and wine from his partners. A Privateer was an authorised pirate – that is someone who the Crown licensed to raid other ships and carry away their bounty. With a percentage of the profits going to the Crown of course to pay for the wars and the lack of taxes from the imported silks and wines that didn’t occur due to the war… And then there was typhus.In Ireland 1816 a major epidemic of the disease produced 700,000 cases out of a population of 6,000,000. More major epidemics followed in 1821 and 1836 and again in 1846 with the Potato Famine. It is a bacterial infection spread by parasites – and the most important form of typhus being epidemic typhus (borne by lice). Other forms are murine, or endemic, typhus (flea-borne); scrub typhus, or tsutsugamushi disease (mite-borne); and tick-borne typhus. So another romance about a Duc rather than a Duke but pun or not it follows in the 12 stories about Dukes promised…